Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Irresponsible Reviewers Series-- Robert Milder

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  1. Maybe it is time for other biographers to join me in a series on Irresponsible Reviewers. Traditionally the reviewers have had the last word, but with the Internet biographers can begin the long hard process of educating reviewers. We can't make reviewers read Rollyson's 275-276 in BIOGRAPHY: A USER'S GUIDE before submitting their hasty reviews, but we may be able to make them wish they had.

  2. I have often felt they have failed to read the work they are reviewing as well--too many reviewers seem to think the work being reviewed is merely an excuse for them to pontificate about their own particular theory de jour.

  3. How about the obvious bias in a book review (my second review ever for my Kerouac bio) that was headlined "HIT THE ROAD, PAUL!"

    Or my first review ever for the bio in Publishers Weekly, anonymous, that attacked me as "homophobic" and "anti-semitic"? The thing to note is that particular reviewer had received the first galley in NYC, and I noticed that a week after he got it, he was selling it on ebay (to which I had the publicist send a note to remove it and have it returned). Those were the two worst I got, with the rest being overwhelmingly positive. What struck me at the time was that neither one noted all of the primary source research I had put into the book. It just entirely escaped them, and it struck me then, that the only respectable review I would ever get, would be from one that did any kind of primary source research.